St. Louis Cardinals: An argument against a red jacket for David Freese

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ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 26: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 26, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 26: David Freese #23 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on against the Boston Red Sox during Game Three of the 2013 World Series at Busch Stadium on October 26, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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David Freese put the St. Louis Cardinals on his back during one of the most magical postseasons Cardinals fans have ever experienced. But there is no reason for him to be in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

David Freese put himself in the history books and in the hearts of St. Louis Cardinals fans after his dramatic walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series which set up a seventh game and an eventual title for the Cardinals. Now some people are clamoring for his inclusion in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

This is a ludicrous idea.

The story just sounds too perfect: Freese grew up in the St. Louis area and led the team he rooted for growing up to a world championship. The next step would clearly be an induction into the Cardinals Hall of Fame — an oh-so-satisfying capper for a hometown hero. But as much as fans want this type of fairy tale to come to fruition, it shouldn’t happen at all.

Freese’s stats don’t compare to any other player who is in the Cardinals Hall of Fame who was inducted as a player instead of as a  manager, coach, front-office worker or broadcaster. He hit .286 during his Cardinals tenure with 44 home runs in 1,567 at-bats. These are respectable numbers, and a 5.9 WAR doesn’t look bad. But is he worthy of a red jacket based on these? No.

But that’s not why fans want him in.

That home run is something that Cardinals fans (and Rangers fans) will never forget, but doing something unforgettable isn’t a justification for Hall of Fame induction. One accomplishment, no matter how large in scale, shouldn’t be what elevates a player to Hall of Fame status. The Hall of Fame is — or was designed to be — the place where the very best in the sport are remembered for just that: being the very best. Freese was nowhere close to that.

Putting Freese in the Hall of Fame for one home run that happened to be hit in a clutch moment is ridiculous at best and downright insulting at worst. Imagine Freese being in the Cardinals Hall of Fame with actually deserving players such as Jim Edmonds and Willie McGee who amassed impressive stats throughout their careers. He would stick out like a sore thumb. If I were Freese, I would be embarrassed.

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A Freese induction would trivialize what the Hall of Fame was meant to be. Why don’t we put Daniel Descalso, Jon Jay and Lance Berkman into the Hall of Fame as well? Without their getting on base, Freese wouldn’t have had the chance to do what he did. Just putting Freese in the Hall would show that team efforts don’t matter and that the guy who hit the home run is the only one who deserves recognition.

But let’s look at the slightly larger picture: Freese put together possibly the best postseason of any player in history. He hit .397 with five home runs in 63 at-bats and had the highest Win Probability Added, the most runs batted in and the most total bases of any player in any postseason ever.

But those eye-popping stats still doesn’t make him worthy of a spot in the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Players shouldn’t be enshrined because of one scorching streak. The Hall should be reserved for players who had entire seasons’ worth of elite performances.

So maybe Freese deserves Hall entry for displaying clutch on the biggest stage. But for all he did in 2011, he was putrid in the postseason in 2013, hitting .179 in 56 at-bats. He hit an adequate .277 in 47 at-bats in the 2012 postseason. He’s been an unspectacular performer in the playoffs throughout his Cardinals career outside of 2011.

I feel that Freese wouldn’t even want to be inducted. Given the mental issues he was plagued with during his time in St. Louis, it would seem that he would like to forget most of his time with the team and move on. Being inducted and put in the spotlight certainly wouldn’t do that.

Next. Power ranking active former Cardinals. dark

People need to get over their emotions and look at the facts: Freese was a decent player for the Cardinals for a few years and happened to perform very well during the span of a couple of important weeks. His achievements should be remembered, but he shouldn’t be placed in a group of people who have done much more.

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